Television

Disney channels to be available in four languages

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MUMBAI: Walt Disney, which launches in India on 17 December, will make available its two channels in local languages, a move seen to widen its appeal to audiences across the Hindi and southern regions of the country.

Its flagship, The Disney Channel (TDC), will have an English and Hindi feed, the two languages which will provide a national base. Being positioned as a family-viewing channel, Walt Disney feels there is no need at this stage to address a state-specific approach across the southern region.

TDC's sibling channel Toon Disney, which is set to take kids genre leader Cartoon Network head on, will be available in Tamil, Telugu and Hinglish (mix of Hindi, English), according to a source close to the company. When contacted, Walt Disney Television International (India) managing director Rajat Jain did not wish to comment.

The move to dub Toon Disney in the southern languages appears aimed at taking over what could well be termed virgin terrain in the kids viewing segment. Cartoon Network does not have separate feeds so far in the southern languages (a two-hour Tamil band is all it has delved into thus far). Cartoon Network has an English and Hindi language feed.

Other rival channels also have plans to offer separate language feeds. Pogo aims to have 80 per cent of its content dubbed in Hindi by year-end while Nick has an expanded its Hindi band. Hungama TV, a local kids channel in Hindi, plans to offer a Tamil feed as well. Animax from the Sony stable has announced it will have a Hindi feed by April 2005.

Walt Disney will launch its two channels on Wednesday (17 December). The company is waiting for distribution to be in place before it carries out a major promotional burst in mid-January, 2005. One thing that the promotion and marketing will not include of course is recognition related activity. Walt Disneys content has long been available in India as programming blocks in several local language channels across the country.

Star India has inked a deal to distribute the Walt Disney channels in India. The bundled price of the two channels, as reported by indiantelevision.com earlier, is fixed at Rs 12 a month per subscriber.

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